Saturday, January 15, 2005

Abraham Linclon's Inaugural Address

A few notes,
"Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken his favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty."

(Some of this is rough draft by Lincoln and his speech writer.)
"....the candid citizen must confess, that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, it is plain that the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government, into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there, in this view, any assault upon the Court, or the judges-- It is a duty, from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before brought before them....."

Lincoln's handwriting,
"I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends-- We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memorys, streching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

(Note 60 The presence of a pointing hand, characteristically drawn by Lincoln, seems to indicate that the handwritten addition "I am loth to close . . ." was intended as a separate paragraph.Lincoln's indebtedness to, and masterful transformation of, Seward's suggested closing paragraph have long been recognized. Seward's text is as follows: "I close. We are not we must not be aliens or enemies but countrym fellow countrymen and brethren. Although passion has strained our bonds of affection too hardly they must not be broken -- they will not, I am sure they will not be broken. The mystic chords which proceeding from every ba so many battle fields and patriot so many patriot graves bind pass through all the hearts and hearths all the hearths in this broad continent of ours will yet harmon again harmonize in their ancient music when touched as they surely breathed upon again by the better angel guardian angel of the nation".
See William H. Seward, Suggested Changes to First Inaugural Address (February, 1861))
(Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.
Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies
Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, Final Version, March 1861)

He and his speech writer seem like a good team.